People don't consider Disneyland a culinary destination. Within the park itself, your food and drink options are limited to typical carnival fare: funnel cakes, sodas, cotton candy, etc. The restaurants are also lacking in both quality and affordability. That's why, during my vacation this summer, I wanted to find meals I could both enjoy and recommend to others. I figured that finding a good drink was the perfect place to start.
Surprisingly, Disneyland has an impressive drink selection that obviously varies from restaurant to restaurant but is overall high-quality. It didn't take us long before we we found some on-menu drinks (and dishes) that blew us away.
The Cove Bar, a tiny outdoor establishment located near Ariel's Grotto (overlooking Paradise Bay), stunned us with its colorful, flavorful drinks and friendly atmosphere. The most memorable menu items were, hands down, the Pixar Drink, Cotton Candy Lemonade, and the Magical Star Cocktail. The Pixar Drink was a delightful frozen mango beverage topped with a star-shaped watermelon slice, a fun garnish on what was already a delicious treat. The Cotton Candy Lemonade was a whimsical non-alcoholic option that needs little introduction or explanation. The Magical Star Cocktail is made with mango and fruit liqueur, so just the thought of it tastes good. Who doesn't like mango? Also worth mentioning: the glowing ice cube dropped into the drink's center is like the cherry-on-top most actual cherries wish they could be. On the food side of things, don't forget the veggie nachos, either. I know I'm treating them like an afterthought, but I promise they're worth trying.
Dinner-wise, The Jazz Cafe is a must. The fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and blackened chicken alfredo were our favorites. We liked them enough to come back for seconds the night after we tried them and were not disappointed. The service and menu selection were both impressive, and you can bet we'll be back on our next trip to the park.
Another great dining option put the spotlight on my favorite Disney character: Goofy! Goofy's Kitchen was our go-to breakfast spot, but not only because of the incredible buffet (which included Mickey Mouse waffles, chips and guacamole, and an omelet bar). Chef Goofy greeted guests at the door and put big grins on everyone's faces.
As you can probably tell, Disneyland isn't about the rides for me. It's about the food, the drinks, my family, and the joy they give me. I will certainly be coming back to sample more of Disney's creative culinary side.